Top US negotiator Christopher Hill said yesterday that North
Korea must do more to dismantle its nuclear weapons program before
it can be removed from Washington's list of states that sponsor
On Monday, Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency
quoted a North Korea Foreign Ministry spokesman as saying the
United States had agreed during bilateral talks in Geneva to take
Pyongyang off the list.
"They are not off this list," Hill told reporters in Sydney,
which is hosting the annual meetings of the Asia-Pacific Economic
Cooperation forum. He flew in from Geneva, where he had met North
Korean Vice-Foreign Minister Kim Kye-gwan over the weekend.
"Whether they get off will depend on further denuclearization,"
added Hill, the Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and
Japan's top government spokesman also said Tokyo had not heard
of any US decision to take Pyongyang off the list, which currently
also includes Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria.
"The United States has told us that there would be no delisting
until (North Korea) disables its nuclear facilities," Chief Cabinet
Secretary Kaoru Yosano told reporters.
North Korea was put on Washington's blacklist in January 1988
after a North Korean agent confessed to the 1987 bombing of a
passenger jet of South Korea over the Indian Ocean that killed all
115 people on board.
Pyongyang said it had agreed with the United States in Geneva to
take "practical measures to neutralize the existing nuclear
facilities in North Korea within this year", KCNA quoted the
Foreign Ministry spokesman as saying on Monday.
"In return for this, the US decided to take such political and
economic measures for compensation as delisting North Korea as a
terrorism sponsor and lifting all sanctions that have been applied
according to the Trading with the Enemy Act," the unnamed spokesman
was quoted as saying.
Hill said in Geneva that North Korea had agreed to fully account
for and disable its nuclear program by the end of the year. He
confirmed the delegations had discussed the terms under which
Washington would drop Pyongyang from its terrorism list.
The blacklist imposes a ban on arms-related sales, keeps the
country from receiving US economic aid and requires the United
States to oppose loans by the World Bank and other international
Tokyo has been pressing Washington not to take North Korea off
the list until the issue of Japanese citizens abducted by North
Korea agents in the past is resolved.
(China Daily via agencies September 5, 2007)